700 tourists targeted by muggers and pickpockets in 2014

More than 700 tourists were robbed by muggers and pick-pockets last year, with the majority falling victim in Dublin city centre.

700 tourists targeted by muggers and pickpockets in 2014

Details were revealed in a report released by the Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) which offered help to visitors targeted by thieves.

ITAS said pick-pocketing was the most common offence of the 726 crimes perpetrated against tourists, about 52% of incidents reported.

The organisation said it also helped eight tourists who were victims of violent attacks

Dublin’s city centre garda stations, particularly Pearse Street and Store Street, continue to refer the majority of the cases (89%) handled by ITAS. Garda stations in counties Wicklow and Kerry also referred a number of victims to the organisation.

Most crimes occurred when tourists were sightseeing, shopping and socialising.

The majority of crimes referred occurred between 2pm-6pm in Dublin city centre, with the victims mainly female and aged between 17 and 25.

Tourists from 45 different countries were assisted by ITAS last year, with the largest number being German.

They were followed by French, American, Italian, British and Spanish tourists.

The figures were released yesterday at the Mansion House in Dublin. The city’s lord mayor, Christy Burke, said being a tourist victim of crime can be an extremely traumatic experience.

“It is reassuring to know that ITAS are on hand to respond to their needs seven days a week throughout the year. Over 90% of tourists opted to continue with their holiday plans last year, which was testament to the expertise and compassion of the staff and volunteers and the professionalism of the service,” he said.

ITAS chairman Martin Holohan said Ireland was leading the way in terms of the support it provided to tourist who were victims of crime. “ITAS is the only dedicated service in Europe offering specialist assistance to tourists in these situations.

“While we very much appreciate the funding we receive from the industry, further support is required in order to secure its future viability. All sectors of the industry benefit from the support provided by ITAS, it is in everyone’s interest to help,” said Mr Holohan.

ITAS chief executive Lisa Kennedy said her organisations has a valuable role to play within the tourism industry.

“In terms of damage limitation, the service provided by ITAS is invaluable,” said Ms Kennedy.

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